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TENNIS PREVIEW

Freshmen Are Making Big Impact

Several schools in the region are benefiting from talented ninth-graders.

September 30, 2000|LAUREN PETERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Campbell Hall High lost its No. 1 girls' tennis player, Melissa Nguyen, to graduation after she went 160-2 in round-robin sets in her last two seasons.

However, the Vikings appear to have filled the void.

Three key players on Calabasas' 1999 team graduated, but the defending Southern Section Division IV champions may be improved.

Agoura lost No. 1 player Brooke Borisoff, the three-time Marmonte League singles champion and a Southern Section quarterfinalist last year, when she decided to enroll in an independent study program and forgo high school tennis.

But the Chargers have moved on without the standout senior.

Reasons for the successful transitions are easy to spot, in the fresh faces, intensity and ferocious forehands of a group of talented freshmen.

At Campbell Hall, freshmen Daron Moore and Cheyenne Reveche have eased the loss of Nguyen. Moore has stepped into the No. 1 singles spot, with Reveche right behind at No. 2.

Both are tournament-toughened players ranked among the elite in Southern California in the girls' 14 age group by the U.S. Tennis Assn., Moore at No. 14 and Reveche at No. 25.

"I'm so glad they're going to be here for like, the next 30 years," Campbell Hall Coach Ben Harvey joked.

"It was hard to say goodbye to Melissa, but getting these girls made it easier. I've got some new blood for the program, and seriously, they'll be here for four years and we can kind of build the program around them."

The Vikings are 5-1 thanks primarily to Moore and Reveche each sporting 18-0 records in sets. Neither player lost a game in Campbell Hall's first three matches.

"They're very skilled," Harvey said. "Any school would like to have these girls. They're committed to being good tennis players."

Moore and Reveche aren't the only ones.

Freshmen Celia Durkin and Monica Wiesener command respect for Calabasas, which has played in two consecutive Southern Section finals. Ninth-graders Yassi Entekhabi and Maggie Cahil, will likely grow into prominent roles at Agoura. Entekhabi is 20-1 in sets at No. 1 and is ranked No. 26 in girls' 14s in Southern California.

Granada Hills, which went 16-0 last season and traditionally is the region's best City Section team, might be improved thanks to freshmen Christine Dao and Canna Furuta. Dao is ranked No. 19 in girls' 14s in Southern California, Furuta No. 47.

"There's a lot of [freshmen] out there," Calabasas Coach Bill Bellatty said. "It's definitely a good group. They're good, they're experienced, and they've worked hard to get where they're at."

They're all over the place.

Freshman Katie Callaghan, the daughter of a teaching pro at Cabrillo Racquet Club in Somis and the No. 31 player in Southern California girls' 14s, is the No. 1 player at St. Bonaventure.

Two of Chaminade's top three players, No. 1 Jennifer Segar and No. 3 Christine Ong, are freshmen ranked No. 40 and 42, respectively, in girls' 14s in Southern California.

Oak Park is off to a 7-2 start with the help of three freshmen, including fraternal twins Marisa and Melanie Gilbert.

Simi Valley (8-2) has a solid No. 2 player in freshman Melissa Hoang.

Freshmen Sara Jacobs, at No. 2 singles, and Randi Oyama, a doubles player, are trying to help struggling Hart.

La Reina has a promising left-handed freshman, Stephanie Carr, at No. 3 singles.

Freshman Falon Lopez is drawing notice at Oxnard, a school not known for tennis.

What's behind the freshman fad?

Campbell Hall's Moore practices once a week with Robert Lansdorp, who formerly coached Lindsay Davenport, Pete Sampras and Tracy Austin.

"I've been with some pretty good coaches all my life [and] he's helped me a lot," Moore said of Lansdorp. "I like being pushed, and he's definitely made me work very hard in terms of conditioning and concentration."

Reveche gets help each day from her father, Marlon Reveche, the head pro at Oakwood Tennis Center in Woodland Hills.

"I expect to do well," Cheyenne Reveche said. "I take it very seriously. I want to help my team, and I think we'll do very well."

The Vikings suffered their first loss, 11-7, Wednesday to Marlborough, but Moore and Reveche each recorded victories over the Mustangs' top player, Yelena Olshanskaya, ranked No. 12 in girls' 16s in Southern California.

No team has benefited more from freshmen than Calabasas.

Because of the emergence of Durkin and Wiesener, sophomore Erin Everly, the Coyotes' No. 1 player last season, has fallen to No. 3. Durkin is ranked No. 13 in Southern California in girls' 14s. Wiesener plays up a division and is ranked No. 14 in girls' 16s, with Everly No. 54.

"This is the youngest team I've ever had, but I've got so much depth," Bellatty said. "We're looking for some challenges. We need a lot of competition."

Calabasas (9-0) beat San Marino, 14-4, in a nonleague rematch of the last two Division IV finals. Calabasas won the title last year and San Marino was champion in 1998. The Coyotes also have nonleague victories over perennial powerhouses Harvard-Westlake, Brentwood and Westlake.

Talented freshmen are improving the fortunes of other teams in the region as well.

"My top four are all ranked and they're all tennis junkies," Granada Hills Coach Ron Wood said. "We're definitely about as good, and maybe a little better, than last year.

"If I have this lineup for the year, we could be pretty tough."

The same goes for Calabasas, Campbell Hall and every other team being bolstered by freshmen.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

The Top 10

Rankings of girls' tennis teams in the region

*--*

1 Calabasas (Frontier) 9-0 2 Harvard-Westlake (Mission) 1-3 3 Granada Hills (West Valley) 4-0 4 Westlake (Marmonte) 6-3 5 Campbell Hall (Delphic) 5-1 6 Burbank (Foothill) 5-2 7 Simi Valley (Marmonte) 8-2 8 Agoura (Marmonte) 4-3 9 St. Bonaventure (Tri-Valley) 6-1 10 Oak Park (Tri-Valley) 7-2

*--*

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